7 Best Destin, Florida Restaurants (BONUS: Dessert Picks at the end)

7 Best Destin, Florida Restaurants (BONUS: Dessert Pick at the end)

Welcome back to Wanderfully Lost, a travel community that loves food as much as it loves wandering! And today, our quest to look for the city with the best restaurants takes us all the way to the Fishing Capital of the World—Destin, Florida.

Because it is a fishing town, there is no shortage of iconic seafood restaurants. But what will surprise you are the European and South American-inspired eateries on this list.

And now, without further ado, these are the 7 best Destin restaurants!

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1. McGuire’s Irish Pub

This one is for those looking to give an Irish spin to their American holiday! This may be a pub, but it is better than most of the Destin dineries.

As you step into McGuire’s Irish Pub, you’re greeted by the warm embrace of a design that mirrors an old Irish cottage. The place feels cozy with its fireplaces and traditional décor, creating an atmosphere that whisks you away to Ireland. The staff is all decked out in kilts and Irish outfits.

The menu at McGuire’s offers a mix of Irish and American dishes cooked to perfection. From the classic fish and chips to delectable steaks and freshly resourced seafood, there’s something for everyone. What really takes the cake for us is that they have options for vegetarians and those with gluten-free preferences. But be ready for portions that lean towards the lighter side and prices that might stretch your budget a bit.

McGuire’s is also known for its own brewed beers and a fancy selection of Irish whiskeys and spirits. The friendly bartenders are there to guide you to the perfect drink. The bummer is that the popularity of the place means it can get quite crowded, especially at the lively bar.

Also, if you have a sweet tooth, leave room for their irresistible desserts, like the famous Irish Wake Cake. When it comes to Destin restaurants, this one ranks very high on the list.

McGuire’s Irish on Google Maps:

2. The Back Porch

For a quiet and calm dining experience paired with heavenly seafood, The Back Porch invites food enthusiasts with its laid-back charm and breathtaking waterfront vistas.

Mastering the art of outdoor dining right along the Gulf of Mexico, this gem has been a local favorite for over four decades. Whether you opt for a seat at the rustic picnic tables or sink into the comfort of Adirondack chairs, this place is definitely going to surprise you with its magic.

And no, landlubbers aren’t left out either. The menu features equally enticing options such as juicy burgers and tender steaks. While the limited seating and potential wait times during peak hours are worth noting, the restaurant’s casual and family-friendly atmosphere, coupled with the welcoming staff, makes for a memorable Destin dining experience.

By a great margin, the best dish here is the Amberjack Sandwich, a signature dish available in many preparations. Even with its high price tag, the delectable combination of seafood and the panoramic waterfront scape justifies every indulgent bite.

So for those seeking more than just a meal, The Back Porch delivers on its promise of seaside charm and culinary excellence—right in the heart of Destin!

The Back Porch on Google Maps:

3. Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar

In the heart of Destin, Florida, Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar is a dream brought to life by Levi Tischler and Alfonso Di Bonito. Since its opening in May 2017, this hidden gem has kept the flair of Italy alight on the coastal scene. The founders’ commitment to their culinary vision is plugged into the entire establishment. From its chic modern decor to the exclusive oak-wood fire brick oven, this is a unique gem in the Destin restaurants category.

The restaurant takes inspiration from authentic Italian flavors, offering classics like spaghetti carbonara, savory pizzas, and delightful seafood options like linguine alle vongole. Customers rave about the Burrata, a one-of-a-kind creation featuring mozzarella filled with sweet-cream butter, served over cherry tomatoes, arugula, and prosciutto. But the Porchetta, a slow-cooked pork belly masterpiece, is our personal favorite!

What’s more, this restaurant is perfect for families because it is run by families. Chef Mesi, Levi Tischler’s wife, is head of the desserts department and is renowned for her cakes, and Erika, Alfonso Di Bonito’s wife, prepares delightful cocktails at the restaurant’s Destin branch.

With the extra touch of family, Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar has been the go-to spot for an authentic Italian experience on Florida’s Emerald Coast for years now!

Like this virtual foodie tour? Find even more mouthwatering foodie travel content on our YouTube channel.

Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar on Google Maps:

4. Captain Dave’s on the Gulf

Nestled on the serene Gulf of Mexico shores, Captain Dave’s on the Gulf in Destin, Florida, is a timeless beachfront dining destination renowned for its seafood treasures. Since 1968, this culinary gem has upheld its classic seafood charm, offering panoramic Gulf views through expansive windows that create an inviting atmosphere.

Captain Dave’s menu is a testament to its commitment to fresh, premium seafood. The Stuffed Parmesan Shrimp & Lobster Tail, a standout, expertly combines familiar flavors with sophistication. Among their highlights, Seafood Gumbo, Cajun Redfish, the Millionaires Margarita and Dark ‘N’ Stormy.

Beyond exceptional cuisine, Captain Dave’s invites patrons to extend their enjoyment to the sandy shores. With a reputation for attracting multigenerational guests, the restaurant fosters a sense of belonging for both first-timers and regulars.

While parking and peak-hour crowds may pose challenges, the friendly staff ensures a pleasurable dining experience like some of the top Destin restaurants.

Captain Dave’s on Google Maps:

5. Louisiana Lagniappe

Stepping into Louisiana Lagniappe in Destin is like stumbling upon a hidden treasure. Really.

This is the only place where you can find Cajun-inspired delights wrapped in Southern charm. Since 1984, locals have held this secret spot within the Sandpiper Cove condominium community close to their hearts. And what seals the deal for us is the snug ambiance and vintage decor that sets the stage for an extraordinary experience.

The Louisiana Lagniappe menu pays homage to the Gulf’s generosity. It offers an impressive collection of dishes featuring the freshest catches, including grouper, lobster, shrimp, and snapper. Standout creations like the Lagniappe Seafood Platter and the irresistible Barbeque Jumbo Shrimps underscore the restaurant’s dedication to preserving natural flavors that are common to the Destin culture.

But it’s not just about the cuisine. Louisiana Lagniappe embraces you with an ambiance that is the right balance between affordable and posh Whether you’re basking in the open-air patios, soaking in glorious sunsets, or nestled indoors with captivating views, Louisiana Lagniappe doesn’t just treat you as a guest. It makes you feel like part of the family.

Are you a foodie at heart? Make sure to check out our foodie’s travel guides here.

Louisiana Lagniappe on Google Maps:

6. Harbor Docks

Nestled in the heart of Destin, Harbor Docks is another long-time favorite for those seeking the best of fresh seafood. Its prime waterfront location not only provides breathtaking views of the harbor but also serves as the source of the restaurant’s seafood.

Harbor Docks gives off an old-school charm, more than apparent in its lodge-like feel, warm ambiance, and impressive bar that adds character to the space. Both indoor and outdoor seating options are available, which offer flexibility for diners.

And the expansive menu is a testament to the restaurant’s commitment to catering to diverse tastes, featuring top recommendations like sushi, grouper, and swordfish.

Limited parking options near the restaurant are a bummer, but the waterfront location compensates by creating an overall dining experience that is as memorable as it is delicious. Our favorite? The D.O.C. Roll. This sushi delight is a must-try, a fusion of flavors that best describes Harbor Docks.

Harbor Docks stands out for its dedication to freshness, with a local market situated just below the dining area. This commitment to sourcing the finest seafood sets the restaurant apart as a top destination for those craving a true taste of this Destin Restaurant’s maritime offerings.

Harbor Docks on Google Maps:

7. The Donut Hole Bakery & Cafe

For those with a sweet tooth, The Donut Hole Bakery & Cafe has an ever-expanding menu of baked delights—from freshly made treats like classic glazed donuts to decadent pastries and homemade dips, you can find next to almost everything here. And what’s more, the bakery guarantees top-notch quality and taste in every bite with its promise of day-to-day baking.

When you step into The Donut Hole, you’ll find a warm and inviting atmosphere. The friendly and helpful staff truly makes the overall experience ten times better. And the light, minimalist decor makes it an ideal spot for a leisurely breakfast or brunch. But keep in mind that limited seating during peak hours may require a bit of patience.

What’s funny is that The Donut Hole offers more than just donuts. The extensive menu includes a variety of breakfast options, including omelets, spreads, and pancakes. For those visiting later in the day, a diverse selection of lunch choices, from sandwiches to salads, awaits. Sadly, vegetarian and vegan options are somewhat limited here.

Based on local favorites, some of the must-try baked goods include the timeless glazed donuts, the delightful apple fritters, and the buttery chocolate croissants filled with rich, melted chocolate.

From Italian to Mexican to the most authentic Destin seafood, you will find delectable combos that will leave you craving for more. All at the very best of Destin Restaurants for families just like yours.

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Happy Travels!

The Donut Hole on Google Maps:

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